This blog will record some of the trips we make throughout Oregon and other places.
We enjoy wandering off the beaten path whenever possible. Come wander with us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mt Hood and the Hood River Fruit Loop ~ July 10, 2011

Time to get some fruit!  Or, so we thought!  
Early Sunday morning, we headed up to the Hood River Valley to get some fresh fruit!   
It was a beautiful day and a perfect day for a drive!  

Mt Hood was visible in the distance from the time we left Bend.  
We stopped on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and took this picture of Mt Hood (the south side), which is still showing a remarkable amount of snow for July!  It was some winter here!

 On the plains of the high desert were several wildflowers interspersed with the invasive cheat grass
(which had a very good year)

Mt Jefferson was also heavy in snow cover.

The drive takes you through the high desert, through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and up into the Mt Hood National Forest.  As you drive through the forest it is stunning to come upon open views of the majestic Mt Hood.  At 11,240 feet, the mountain is quite overpowering!

Once we got to the mountain, we headed to the east on Hwy 35.  One of the first geologic stops is the bridge over the White River.  This one of the paths of the snow melt run off from Mt Hood.  At the peak run off time, the river is fierce and has often washed out the road and damaged the bridge.

 Mt Hood beyond the White River -
notice the width of the basin and the size of the boulders that are washed down this river at peak run off times.

 The new bridge going in - higher and stronger

The White River - the river runs east, joins the Deschutes River and flows north to the Columbia River

 Amazingly, dwarfed versions of wildflowers had found a home in the empty part of the river basin

From our vantage point at the White River stop, we could see the ski lift called the Magic Mile.
It was still running and people were taking the lift up Mt Hood to ski or snowboard down.
At this time of the year, you can also ride it up and down!

Once we passed the White River, the forests were quite lush and the east side of Mt Hood 
was a wildflower spectacle - many yet to bloom!

Wild Strawberries!
Indian Paintbrush

Solomon's Seal

New growth on the trees
Our long, long  and wet winter has led to a very late wildflower season and a remarkably healthy forest with lots of new growth in the trees.  Along the road the lupine were so numerous that is was like a shimmering sea of blue.

Our first stop was in Parkdale, Oregon.  Parkdale was our destination for lunch.  It is also the turn around point for the Mt Hood Railroad.  The train was getting ready to pull out when we got there.

I didn't get a picture, but this postcard shot is exactly what it looked like!

We ate great BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches at the Apple valley BBQ!

Inside the restaurant, there is a large gauge train that runs around just below the ceiling!
We headed across to the Hudson Museum and wandered through the park.

 Lifesize sculpture of the draft horses that used to pull the fruit wagons
made of barbed wire.

The 1928 Log Truck

The areas 'claim to fame'

Sign for the Train 'Station' (there is no building)
and some of the historic buildings that remain in Parkdale

The old boardwalk

Mt Hood from the park in Parkdale

We left Parkdale and took the western branch of the Fruit Loop

 Orchards with smudge pots.
The smudge pots are evidence of the extreme and long cold of the past winter.
Some orchards were catastrophically damaged.

Yum for the end of the summer!

Mt Adams - 12,281 ft - in Washington
Mt Hood.  
Turning 180 degrees and you could see each mountain framing the orchards!

As we continued around the fruit loop on our unsuccessful quest for blueberries and cherries,
we decided to detour to Lost Lake.  Neither of us had been there before.

 Berries!  So far the only fruit we had seen!

Oregon Grape - the state flower

 Snow along the road to Lost Lake
Bear Grass
Mt Hood at Lost Lake
The view that was worth the drive!

The view from Lost Lake was worth the $7.00 entry fee.  
But, the area is a zoo of people with very little in the way of facilities or parking.
Lots of tent spaces, some antiquated cabins without facilities and a few 'rooms at the lodge'

Wild Rhododendrons
The Rhododendrons were incredibly beautiful !!
I have never seen so many in bloom - a phenomenon that usually occurs much earlier.

We headed back down to the Fruit Loop.  
The destination fruit stand didn't have any produce at all - in spite of the promises made on their web site. and But, as we continued our drive, we found cherries!!!!

This road just dropped, seemingly, straight down!
You could not see where you were headed!

Mt Adams through the orchards.

At last, we found some cherries and some beautiful sunflowers!
We found a few Rainer cherries and a few Bing cherries.

Finally, we decided to try one last stand - and we found blueberries!
Really beautiful blueberries!!!!
Really tasty blueberries!!!!
And, we bought several pounds!  Enough to share with some good friends!

The cherries and berries were late -- our winter went on forever, it seemed, 
and had slowed the arrival of the fruit.  
The orchards were full of boxes.  The packing houses were ready.  
We heard 'another week' several times, and this coming weekend is the cherry festival,
but I don't think they will have the number of ripe cherries they would like to have.

Hood River


Mt Hood - the North Side

As we left the Hood River valley and headed back towards Mt Hood and the high desert beyond, 
we had had a wonderful day - beautiful scenery, an abundance of wildflowers,
cherries, blueberries and wonderful weather!

We didn't see the orchards in bloom this Spring, but I leave you with this picture of them

And, The Fruit Loop


Mt Hood Railroad -